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Picture This: The Black Curator

Tulloch, Carol (2005) Picture This: The Black Curator. In: The Politics of Heritage: The Legacies of Race. Routledge: London, New York, pp. 169-182. ISBN 9780415322119 [Mass Communications and Documentation > Curatorial studies]
Creators:Tulloch, Carol

The chapter is a reflection on my curatorial practice between 2001-2002. During this period I was curator of the Heritage Lottery funded project the Archives and Museum of Black Heritage (AMBH). I also co-curated the 'Day of Record: Nails, Weaves and Naturals, event and 'Grooming an Identity' photographic exhibition at the V&A.

'Picture This' is an expansion of the paper SW7-SW9: A Case Study of Exhibitions on Black Culture', presented at the V&A conference 'Connections and Disconnections: Cultural Heritage and Diverse Communities' (2002). Both papers considered the role of the 'black curator' in contemporary museum culture; the agency of the 'black curator of a black organisation.

Additionally, the study looked at the benefits and complexities of collaborative efforts between so-called 'black' and 'white' organisations, such as AMBH and the V&A. The research was a blend of subjectivity and theoretical discussion on curatorial approaches to cultural diversity, heritage and black people's sense of place in Britain.

The academic significance of the chapter is that at the time of writing, in 2002-3, there were only a handful of black curators working in British museums. Therefore a black curator of a black museum-orientated project was rare. Its inclusion in 'The Politics of Heritage' was indicative of the academy's desire to include the personal experiences of heritage and diversity in Britain.

This debate began in Britain in the 1990s, and picked up momentum in 2000 through events such as the conference 'Who's Heritage?: The Impact of Cultural Diversity on Britain's Living Heritage'.

Official Website:http://www.routledge.com/books/The-Politics-of-Heritage-isbn9780415322119
Type of Research:Book Section
Additional Information (Publicly available):

Carol Tulloch
Carol Tulloch is TrAIN Senior Research Fellow in Black Visual Culture, based at Chelsea College of Art and Design and the Victoria and Albert Museum. A dress historian and graduate from the joint V&A and Royal College of Art Masters in Design History programme (1995-97), at which she won The Basil Taylor Travel Bursary, Carol Tulloch has written about and curated numerous exhibitions on dress and the African diaspora, and was Curator of the Archives and Museum of Black Heritage Project (AMBH). She has previously been awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Board Small Research Grant and has been a member of the Fashion and Modernity Research Forum at Central Saint Martins College of Art (1999-2000).
In 2004/05, she co-curated the highly acclaimed 'Black British Style' touring exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum and edited the accompanying book 'Black Style' - the first exhibition in the UK to explore the style and fashion of black people in Britain and their impact on British culture over the past 50 years. She is currently researching her forthcoming book, 'The Birth of Cool - Dress Culture of the African Diaspora' - an investigation of the profound influence Black style has had on the history of dress in the twentieth century (due May 2008, Palgrave Macmillan).
Current Research - Statement
"My current research is the book 'The Birth of Cool: The Culture of Dress in the African Diaspora'. This is a self-authored work which is the culmination of a number of years study around the relevance of dress to the development of black identities in different parts of the African diaspora. The research for the book formed much of the ideas for the recent V&A national touring exhibition 'Black British Style', which was curated by Shaun Cole and myself, and the accompanying book 'Black Style' edited by me. Birth of Cool presents a series of case studies of individuals and groups from either Britain, Jamaica or North America to illustrate how their dressed selves express their sense of selves within the society they inhabit."

My current research continues with the telling of selves through the dressed black body, which has progressed through the inclusion of narrative studies. This line of inquiry has shifted to understand how individuals negotiate this within diverse contexts-locally, nationally or internationally. Therefore my work has begun to include other groups with similar experience, and/or cultural collaboration, with people of the African diaspora in order to develop a dialogue in the telling and place of individuals and groups. This has partly developed out of the AHRC funded 'Dress and the African Diaspora Network' I co-ordinated over the past two years. Material and visual culture remain central to this investigation, but I now make use of a wider range of media beyond my usual focus of garments, accessories and photography. Exploration of this is being conducted through writing and curating.
Key Projects
Principle Investigator for the 'Dress and the African Diaspora Network' which is part of the AHRC initiative Diasporas, Migrations and Identity: Research Networks and Workshops Scheme. It provides a series of forums where established and new researchers discuss the consumption, production, collection and display of dress, textiles and beauty regimes. The primary aim is to provide a forum for debate in order to identify new directions of study, and to create information resources for scholars in the field.

Publisher/Broadcaster/Company:Routledge: London, New York
Your affiliations with UAL:Research Centres/Networks > Transnational Art Identity and Nation (TrAIN)
Colleges > Camberwell College of Arts
Colleges > Chelsea College of Art and Design
Related Websites:http://www.transnational.org.uk/projects/15-dress-and-the-african-diaspora-network, http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/contemporary/day_record/nails/index.php
ID Code:801
Deposited By:Carol Tulloch
Deposited On:07 Dec 2009 12:57
Last Modified:22 Feb 2011 16:08
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